Sunday, April 27, 2008

Taking a break

Just like Elvis had to cancel his planned January/February season at Las Vegas in 1975, I'm forced to take a break. But not from performing like Elvis, but from my blog Elvis Today.

The weeks to come my work will demand my full attention, with a lot of travelling away from home (unfortunately no way near Memphis, just in Sweden). Nevertheless, this is a temporary break, and in about a month I will be back writing again.

So please bear with me, and until we meet again, please enjoy this picture I took in Memphis during Elvis Week 2005. It was my journey of a lifetime!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pocketful of Elvis

I've been carrying it around for over 20 years now. I'm talking about my Official Elvis Presley Fan Club Key Fob.

It's pretty worn - a lot of the enamel finish is gone and the leather has been patched up by a shoemaker. No wonder, since it's been with me nearly every day since I ordered it back in 1986.

Tonight, I found the ad for the fob in a fan club magazine dated August/September 1986: "Beautifully fashioned in gold coloured metal, with red and white enamel finish, mounted onto a real leather fob."

Maybe not so beautiful anymore, but still special. I hope to carry it around in my pocket for years to come. It's been a faithful companion. I wonder who else out there still has his or her Official Elvis Presley Fan Club Key Fob?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Find out what's happening

Having been away from home for two days I immediately turned on my computer to get in touch with what had happened in the Elvis world. Thanks to ElvisNews.com I quickly found out I hadn't missed much:

1. April FTDs maybe delayed. Well, no big surprise there.

2. Bootleg CD re-issues of the UK K-Tel (sounds like a guy from Supermans homeplanet Krypton) albums are now available on eBay. I bought one of them, Inspirations, on LP back in the 80's, and thought it was a great introduction to Elvis gospel music. But a CD bootleg version? No, thanks!

3. A computerised image of how the "New Overton Park Shell" may look like when it is finished in 2009 was the most interesting piece of news. Actually it looks pretty cool - except that the famous rainbow is gone.

4. An Elvis diamond supposedly created using the DNA from one of Elvis' hairs with a staring-bid of US $ 50,000. That one I won't even comment.

Still, thanks to the Internet I'm now once again fully updated. Hmm, maybe I'm gonna give the old LP Inspirations a spin...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The crazed weekend

I've just finished reading another chapter from the on-line novel Boscutti's Pure Elvis written by Australian film maker Stefano Boscutti. To quote the author, "it's a serialized novel based on the crazed weekend Elvis Presley decided to visit President Richard Nixon in search of a Federal Drug Enforcement Agent badge."

And crazy it is. But also funny. Each chapter reminds me of a movie script, containing a lot of dialogue written with a humorous twist. The reason this style of writing is successful is, I believe, because Boscutti has done his homework well.

What this means is that a lot of the facts are correct, but some episodes exaggerated to great effect. One part I nearly laughed out loud reading was the one where the pilots of the commercial airliner on which Elvis is on board invites him to fly the plane: "Elvis leans forward in the seat, seeming to concentrate on his new job."

Another great line is delivered in Elvis suite in Washington when Jerry, hearing Elvis talking to himself in the bathroom, asks if he's all right. "Course I am all right! What the hell can happen to a man in his own damn bathroom?" answers an annoyed Elvis.

A new chapter of this novel is posted everyday, and so far it's been an entertaining read (16 chapters are available). Why don't you give it a try and tell me what you think?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The lost photographs

The saying "a picture speaks more than a thousand words" came into my mind today as I looked at some of the recently found photographs of Elvis taken by former Madison Square Garden photographer George Kalinsky (Daily News shows a couple and so do abc News).

Turned out Kalinsky had four rolls of film with some 100 photos he'd taken at Elvis' second evening performance in The Garden but never printed. Well, better now then never!

Officials at Graceland were thrilled, and consider some of the photographs the most iconic ever taken. One of the shots, probably the most iconic of them all, showing Elvis holding out his cape, is proudly on display at Times Square, 36 feet tall. Talk about exposure!

In all of the photos Elvis seems to be in great shape in his "Porthole Suit," and you can almost feel the excitement just looking at them. I especially like this one, which presents a rather contemplating Elvis. (Or maybe I'm completely off the mark and he just sees something that he likes in the front row...)

For further impact while studying these lost photographs, play the accompanying "soundtrack," Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. It makes you realise just how lucky those in the audience were to be part of that historical evening at Madison Square Garden, on June 10, 1972.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Special moments with FTD III

If you could travel back in time to watch Elvis record a song, a good date to punch into the time machine would be September 11, 1967. The location? RCA's studio B in Nashville.

Imagine looking over the shoulder of engineer Jim Malloy, catching a glimpse of Elvis as he walks towards the piano and sits down. And then, stretching your neck to get a better view, seeing Elvis turn his head in the direction of guitar player Harold Bradley and asking him for an acoustic intro.

As Elvis begins to play and softly sing "When you walk through a storm..." you'll cast a quick glance at Bob Moore who's starting to provide a beat on his base supported by Charlie McCoy's chords on the organ. Then you're back watching Elvis bent over the piano, fully committed to the song he has sung so many times at home.

You can't help but notice Elvis hammering away at the keys of the piano in that familiar way and smile softly to yourself in recognition. Then, as the Jordanaires ease smoothly into the song and it builds in momentum you get goosebumps on your arms.

All too soon, it's over. But as the final notes fade away, Elvis starts singing the song from the beginning and the musicians fall in. This time, as Elvis throws himself completely into the performance, it's even more dramatic, and producer Felton Jarvis, who's right there beside you, has a satisfied expression on his face. I bet you have too.

PS: If you don't own a time machine, use the next best thing, the excellent FTD release So High. Play track number 20, close your eyes and travel back in time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Elvis was coming to Sweden

One of my favorite pictures hanging on the wall at home is a framed concert poster promoting Elvis-The Concert, and the first tour date in Sweden, back in 1999. "Elvis is coming to Sweden, live on screen," is its message, and when I glanced at it today it made me remember that night, more than nine years ago.

My Elvis buddy from the north of Sweden, who was sitting with a couple of friends in the row in front of mine, turned around and looked at me when the first notes of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" started playing. I'll never forget the expression on his face, like he couldn't believe this was really happening. I guess I looked pretty much the same.

"This is how it must have felt like for those at a real Elvis concert, hearing that famous theme from 2001 blasting through the speakers and waiting for Elvis to run up on stage and start his show," I was thinking. And then the gigantic curtain with the letters "EP" on it fell away and there was Elvis, live on screen, throwing himself into "See See Rider." Unbelievable!

I'd waited for that night a long time, let me tell you. From the moment they announced that there was going to be a European tour and I bought the tickets for me and my brother we counted the days. It felt great reading about the tour in the papers and learning that the show in Stockholm was sold out.

Another great thing was actually seeing Elvis's musicians in real life for the first time, playing and sounding just like they did in their days together with Elvis. I was enjoying every second of it, and so were all the others around me, judging by the wild applause.

I guess the beginning and the end of the show made the greatest impression on me. "Suspicious Minds" was incredible, and so was "An American Trilogy." During the last few songs, me and my brother went to the front of the stage, and stood there jumping and singing together with a bunch of others who like us just couldn't sit still.

And when the musicians came forward and shook hands with us after the show, it was a fitting end to a fantastic night. All this passed through my mind today, after looking at my favorite poster.

And, yeah, when Elvis-The Concert returned the year after, in 2000, me and my brother saw both shows in Sweden. The European tours in 2001, 2003 and 2005 never included our country in their schedule. But I'm happy I saw Elvis when he was coming to Sweden - I'll never forget it.